COST of Wisconsin, Inc. was chosen to build a 40’ tall by 16’ diameter white pine snag tree as part of an ambitious $5.2 million Wild Walk expansion at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, NY. The Wild Walk is an elevated walkway filled with interesting exhibits, art, and amazing views of the Adirondack forest. The interactive pine snag tree piece allowed COST and the Wild Center to utilize some new technology, our 5 Axis Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machine. A 16’ diameter white pine is difficult, if not impossible, to find and mold, so the team determined that scanning a more common size tree and then manipulating the data into a larger format would allow us to create larger bark mold patterns. Once the programming was completed, our design team sent the data to our 5-Axis CNC machine where the larger bark features were custom cut. When the master pieces were completed, we were then able to mold each piece and fabricate glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) panels of the finished bark work. These panels were then sent to the jobsite and erected to complete the artificial tree finishes. While our CNC equipment helped simplify the fabrication of an authentic looking white pine, COST artisans were tasked with painting and aging the GFRC to match the surrounding indigenous trees. They were also responsible for adding realistically replicated mushrooms to the bark finishes.
The white pine snag also features a bear den complete with a sculpture of mother and cub. Charles P. “Chip” Reay led the team that designed the original Wild Center as well as the Wild Walk.